I will sell my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder.
For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts: of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more? But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing.
And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door...seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting - with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand.
A multiple award-winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.
©2007 Joe Hill; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
"Powerful....[Hill's] subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Hill elicits honest empathy for Jude, who turned his stage persona into a nightmare version of his fears and must now figure out what strength he has left for legitimate battles. This dynamic is both frightening and funny, and the book weaves together those two threads in clever ways." (The New York Times)
From Austen to zombies!
I bought this book for the concept: a dead man's suit that comes with a ghost. I figured it would be good and scary, and I wasn't wrong.
I read a lot of stories that I think are going to be scary, but then I'm disappointed when it turns out the monster really isn't much of a monster. But parts of Heart-Shaped Box scared me so much I could barely listen, even in a brightly-lit health club with dozens of other people there.
I won't describe any of those sections for fear of spoiling other readers' fun. Let's just say that some stuff happens that scares even the main character--a guy who owns a cookbook for cannibals.
Although this book is frightening, and a thriller, the writing doesn't suffer. All the characters had fully realized story arcs, even some of the minor ones who turned out later to be more important than they seemed at first.
I particularly liked the main character, Judas Coyne. Even though he has apparently been mean to others through some of his life, I found him fairly easy to sympathize with through most of the action. By the end of the book he'd won me over--I was cheering for his side all the way.
The production of the audiobook itself was good, too. The narrator did a fine job, even with voices for female characters, which is often hard for a guy. Between sections, there are a couple of musical breaks--the first one startled me, but only because I wasn't expecting it.
I definitely recommend this one for people who don't mind a good scare. I hope Joe Hill has some more on the way.
One word comes to mind after listening to Heart-Shaped Box.....TALENT! The book was extremely spooky and creepy. The characters are well written with depth. Had a hard time pausing the book, I did not want to leave the story or characters.
I read Horns first, and was quite impressed. This novel came before Horns, but I felt it was not as good. I agree with another reviewer here, that I had a hard time caring much about the self-styled, goth/heavy metal star. He collects and discards women companions and doesn't even call them by their name but by the state they came from - like a product, and surrounds himself with things like snuff films and letters of women burned alive as witches. Unlike horns, it is just hard to care about these characters. The humanity is slowly developed to a small extent as the story goes on, but it is kind of too little too late. The main character is just not particularly likeable or appealing or even interesting, so it is hard to really get too excited about his woes.
Also, the story plods along a bit. After a while, it is just the main characters being tortured by a ghost and doesn't really seem to go anywhere for long stretches.
It isn't bad, and certainly has its moments, and many might find it scary. But I felt the characters are just too dark for too long to really make the reader care much about them, and the story just isn't as strong as Joe HIll's other work.
Joe Hill's "Heart-Shaped Box" was a huge surprise. He is an outstanding writer, and the tale he weaves is hypnotic. Joe is a detail writer, and in the frist 3rd of the book, it would have been easy to stop listening. But I was hopelessly drawn into the tale. I stuck with it, and what a fabulous and haunting tale it turned out to be! Well worth a listen.
Intricately written and extremely descriptive, this story leaves you wondering who the real victims/villains are...the roles are not clearly defined and each character crosses back and forth across the line of decency. Yet, it becomes fairly evident 'who's the evilest one of all' as the book progresses...but then what?
This book was clearly written by someone who knows his way around character development. My main criticism is that the reader was tediously slow in his reading and could have done more to act out the characters. I had to put my IPOD speed to "faster" just so I wouldn't give up because of the slow pace. Not sure if this was all the fault of the reader, but most of it probably was. It's well worth listening to, but at times will give you an uneasy feeling, so I'm not sure that I would put this book in my top 5 favs.
As a new member to Audible and this being the first audiobook I have listened to, it was more than i expected.
I am and always have been a big fan of Stephen King and John Saul. The storylines and concepts that they have, i can feel my imagination run with thier writing styles. Joe Hill at first was a streach for me. It was one that i appreciate i did do.
If you are not a fan of the "F"-bomb, the first few hours of the book will be a bit to get thru. After the initial 150 of them you just become immune or they stop using it.
All in all the book was something that i would reccomend to anyone that is interested in Dark storylines and has an open mind.
Great job narrator and Joe Hill!!!!
I bought the book because it was Joe Hill, who is Stephen King's son, and I was prepared to be disappointed. He has, after all, nearly impossible shoes to fill. But I wasn't disappointed!
I don't read much that really scares me, but this book was chilling. From the very first chapter, where an aging rockstar buys a ghost on a not-e-bay auction site, it simply doesn't stop. The characters of the book are believable and well-defined, and the plot is unpredictable.
I agree with those who have compared this book favorably with Stephen King's work. Hill does an excellent job of creating fully fleshed-out characters and a viscerally chilling narrative, using a very accessible prose. I didn't love the ending, and I thought the paranormal stuff verged on silly at times, but it's still a very entertaining read. Solid narration by Mr. Lang, too.
I really enjoyed this book. I am a fan of Stephen King, and bought this book based on that (I know, shallow, but it worked this time). I thought the story was very original and very scary, I enjoyed the characters, even the bad ones were very good in that they seemed to me to be true to themselves. I hope this is the beginning of a long line of books from Mr Hill. I will be looking for his work in the future.
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